Insects. That’s right, you heard me. It turns out the smartest lifeform is the Australian Walking Stick, a truly ingenious insect.
How did I stumble upon the Australian Walking Stick, you ask? Well, last year I had the pleasure of doing my speech practicum in an elementary school, and I picked up some truly fascinating information during my time there. One day I was standing in a classroom with a student, gazing into a cage that was empty except for a few plants and a lot of sticks. My conversation with the student went something like this:
Me: “This is a very interesting empty cage. Can you tell me a bit about it?”
Student: “Well, it contains many insects. They are everywhere.”
Me: [This poor kid thinks he sees insects.] “Really? Where are they?”
Student: “You’re holding one.”
Me: “No, I’m just holding this stick.”
Student: “That’s not a stick. See how it’s moving?”
Me: [Very sophisticated movements ensue, the details of which are fuzzy; there may have been some screaming and ducking under a table on my part while I very calmly and rationally attempt to shake off the animated stick from my hand**] “Why you’re right. This is an insect.”
**Don’t believe what you read in the encyclopedia that the Austalian Walking Stick is a docile, harmless insect that is strictly vegetarian. This vicious Walking Stick attacked me, and my life flashed before my eyes. (The previous statement contains information that is partially and/or entirely false. Please proceed at your own risk.)
An important lesson I learned from this pleasant interaction with the student is that children are not as unintelligent as they may seem. If you find yourself in Australia, holding a stick, and a child informs you that it’s a bug, you might want to believe him. In fact, if you find yourself in Australia, you may not want to pick up sticks at all. Try picking up rocks instead. Or litter.
However, the MOST important lesson I learned from this exchange with the second-grade student is that Australian Walking Sticks are truly brilliant creatures. First, they can blend into their surroundings, resembling the objects around them (sticks). This is a superpower previously only achieved by X-Men such as Facade and Mystique. I still have not learned to effectively blend into my surroundings, or to resemble a stick, despite the obvious benefits of such a skill. Even more incredible, however, is that Walking Sticks have learned to procreate without the need for men. Yes, the female Walking Stick is parthenogenetic, which means that the females lay unfertilized eggs, which hatch into female Walking Sticks that subsequently lay their own unfertilized eggs, which hatch into more females. If you’re catching my drift here, you will see that not only are men disposable to the Walking Stick culture, their lack of importance could eventually lead to an advanced Walking Stick society devoid of all male presence. Females would rule all the Walking Stick land (Australia) and females reaching adolescence no longer have to deal with the uncomfortable sex talk that Daddy Walking Sticks were previously forced to have with them.
In light of the fact that I have obtained most of my knowledge about Walking Sticks from a second-grade child (who, admittedly, is smarter than I am as he can distinguish between animate and inanimate objects, an area of apparent difficulty for myself), I ask that you please refer all questions, comments, arguments, and boycotts of this blog to the second-grade child, who asks that he remain anonymous. Or he would, if he knew I wrote this.